Grantee Corner  |  Seminole County Public Schools

A male student wears a virtual reality headset
A Wicklow Elementary student explores the world through a virtual reality experience

Two female students look at a black plastic piece while standing next to a 3D printer
Pine Crest Elementary students bring innovation to life through a 3D printing project

Three students look and point at picture books.
Wicklow Elementary students collaborate through Dual Language experiences

One student works on a laptop while another cuts pieces of foil.
Idyllwilde Elementary students investigate problem solving through inquiry

A female student works on a laptop
A Pine Crest Elementary student enhances her understanding of coding

A male student writes on a Smart Board while three other students look on
Idyllwilde Elementary students utilize a Smart Board to collaboratively solve problems

Julie Ciocca, MSAP Project Coordinator

Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) serves more than 67,000 students and has more than 10,000 employees. A leader in education throughout Central Florida and the state, SCPS is widely recognized as a Premier National School District. The student population is 49 percent White, 27 percent Hispanic, 15 percent Black, 5 percent Asian, and 4 percent Two or more races.

SCPS received Fiscal Year 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funding to implement ePathways for Elementary Schools: Small Steps to Big Careers, a project that established three new magnet schools. Each new magnet school is introducing innovative educational practices to ensure effective instruction that helps students meet high academic standards, master a rigorous curriculum, and prepare for a globally interconnected world. The schools integrate core themes that reflect broader community needs and student interests. 

Idyllwilde Elementary Future Ready Academy, a Candidate School for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), focuses on early preparation to help students become engaged, productive, and contributing citizens of our diverse global community. The vision infuses problem-based and project-based learning into a transdisciplinary framework that ensures students are exposed to and practice skills from an early age. Through this learning structure, students are exposed to Florida learning standards through active participation in problem solving and complex thinking activities that are directly linked to the program of inquiry and facilitate the integration of learning. At Idyllwilde, students learn by solving real problems.

At Pine Crest Elementary School of Innovation, students are immersed in computer science as they experience innovative approaches to learning. The program helps students capitalize on unique opportunities to turn personal passions, talents, and interests into innovations used to demonstrate understandings they share with others around the world. Pine Crest students participate in activities that intertwine innovations in computer science, problem solving, and critical thinking with core academics. Pine Crest presents a fresh approach to learning through a high-level, high-quality infusion of educational technology pedagogy in classrooms, while serving as a model of best practices for educators across the nation.

Wicklow Elementary School for Global Pathways is a Candidate School for the IB PYP. This magnet program encourages fundamental understandings of the global community and develops student skills to engage in this complex, diverse, and interconnected arena. In addition to making global connections across the curriculum, the school focuses on helping students master world languages. Wicklow offers a successful dual language program, and also provides students with instruction in French and Spanish.

SCPS sees community partnerships and parent involvement as paramount to the success of all students. Community partners are invited to an annual Business and Breakfast event that showcases magnet programs and helps to generate ways to develop partnerships. SCPS hosts an annual magnet expo during which families can explore unique programming. Each magnet school also hosts a magnet night event, provides ongoing school tours, and participates in community events to share information and generate interest around the program.

MSAP Project Coordinator Julie Ciocca has been a classroom teacher and educator for more than 17 years. Prior to taking this post, Ms. Ciocca spent 9 years as the magnet administrator in a school that focused on leadership and global connections. There, she honed her skills in program development, theme integration, and marketing/branding, which prepared her to provide high-level support for these new magnet programs. Ms. Ciocca holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership.